Why is it that so many of us yearn so much for the life we want and yet work so hard for the life we have?
This question was left unanswered in my mind several months ago when I met with a potential new client, a middle-aged man who shared with me the joy he had felt three years ago when he shed 135 pounds only to return to the habits that had preceded that weight loss and share with me the despair he was presently feeling having gained back all of that weight plus an additional 15 pounds.
As much as he worked hard to put on a brave face and used self-deprecating humour to explain away his anguish, it made me realize how easy it is for those of us wishing to attain and sustain massive change to ignore the truth behind the challenges of both achieving and then maintaining change.
Every action we take is proceeded by a choice and repeated choices of the same action have led all of us to acquire the habits that have sculpted the lives we have carved out for ourselves.
The greatest God-given gift we were each granted at the time of birth is the enormous power of choice and it becomes an imperative to understand the impact our immediate choices have, both in the present and in and the future.
In other words if we truly wanted our lives to be different we need to learn how to “change our minds and keep the change.”
As I listened to his story I realized he was relaying the challenges we discussed in a recent posting – #292, The Battle for You – and I felt the topic was important enough to be worthy of a second blog.
The pathway to change begins with the necessity of understanding that when we take the first step along this path we are beginning a battle for our lives. The fight for our lives is not about life or death, it is about life or life and the question we need to ask throughout each and every day is, “Which life do I want? The life I presently have or the life I say I want?”
Only one will win and the winner is determined day by day by the choices we make and the actions we take.
As we chatted further, the topic shifted to the question of importance.
The governing point that has caused us to be where we are is one we have frequently discussed in the past. It is that we only ever do one thing; we do what is most important in the moment.
And we are faced with this question each time we make a decision.
For example, when faced with the temptation of eating the type of food that tastes so good and move us away from where you want to be we need to ask ourselves, “What is more important right now? Which life do I want more right now?
Our answer to those questions will determine what we do next. And all our self-rationalization and delusional attempts to convince ourselves to eat what we know we shouldn’t does nothing more than lead us to those same traps that many of us have fallen for time and time again.
You know the ones I mean, the irrational thinking: “I will just have this little piece of cake now and then be really, really good for the next three days.”
Or we will use words to make our decision seem insignificant. “I will just have a teeny, little sliver of cake.”
And then there’s my personal favourite, “Everything in moderation.”
To successfully change anything we must learn to relentlessly focus on winning the battle for the life we want each and every day.
The battle for change is never an easy one. If it was easy we would all be doing it with great success. The battle for change is won by those with the vision to create a new future and the courage to stay the course.
The old adage of “keeping your eye on the prize” is not only true, it is imperative.
Earlier this week I received a call from the man mentioned above. His voice sounded very different from our last conversation. His voice had of vibrancy that was lacking the last time and he shared how he has shed 27 pounds since we last met and more importantly he feels he has acquired the habit of focusing on the life he wants as opposed to the life he has.
There is little doubt of his future success if he can simply retain that focus. This is as true for each and every one of us if we truly and earnestly are willing to endure short-term pain in order to experience the benefit of long-term gain.
To constantly ask ourselves which life we want; the one we have or the one we desire, is a powerful reminder that change seldom comes without sacrifice and that it does not last without vigilance.
If we answer that question with the courage to fight for what we want, we will successfully vanquish from our lives that demoralizing feeling of self-disappointment familiar to all who have given up on their dreams.
And that can only be a good thing.
Till we read again.